Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ḥanukkah-based advertising, shark attacks, and a music video


Jewish date:  2 Ṭeveth 5771 (Parashath Vayyiggash).

Today’s holidays:  Day 8 of Ḥanukkah (Judaism), Bl. Juan Diego (Roman Catholicism), The Martyrdom of St. Kenny (Church of the Subgenius).

Topic 1:  I have had more opportunities to go out searching for Ḥanukkah-based advertising.  Given enough looking, I did find some vendors on ’Aḥuzah Street in Ra‘ananah, Israel, trying to get into the Ḥanukkah spirit.  First, the previously mentioned Megamind poster:

Note the complete lack of Ḥanukkah imagery.  The only connection to Ḥanukkah is that is when it is in theaters.  The blue guy clearly has nothing on the Grinch.

There were also a few restaurants where menoroth were lit.

The complete lack of any Ḥanukkah theme in either restaurant gave the impression that these menoroth were lit in fulfillment of the commandment of lighting the menorah, not as an advertising ploy.

There were some menoroth placed in windows that did look more like advertising ploys.

What makes me think these menoroth are advertising ploys is that they were never lit and thus did not fulfill the actual purpose of the menorah.  The first three are clearly meant to be artistic, the first residing in an art shop and the next two in a flower shop.  (And no, I have no idea what the Seven Dwarves are doing there.)  The last menorah resides in a hair-styling shop.  In no case was there any attempt at a general Ḥanukkah theme or anything over the top.

This is the biggest, boldest advertising I found for any Ḥanukkah events, and only the bottom two occur on Ḥanukkah.  Unless you read Hebrew, you would never know this.  Note the complete lack of sparkle and flair.

Conclusion:  Commercialization of Ḥanukkah has not occurred here in Ra‘ananah.  Let’s pray it stays that way.

Also:  The point of the menorah is to spread the message of the victory of the Maccabees and the triumph of Judaism over the ancient Greek religion.  Thus I must note this menorah put up by Ḥabbadh/the Lubavitchers:

Yes, that is on the top of a multistory building.  And big enough to be seen easily from the ground.  (Though not the easiest menorah to photograph.)  Now that’s publicity.

Topic 2:  “Egyptian Shark Attack: Jews Not Jaws?”.  This report deals with probably the silliest anti-Semitism in a long time:  the claim that Mosadh is behind recent shark attacks in the Red Sea.  And, no, I cannot make up something like this.  And I would like to note that if Israel had the technology to control the behavior of sharks, they probably would not waste it on causing shark attacks on random swimmers, but use it to cause animal attacks on terrorists instead.

Topic 3:  To conclude, I would like to note this virally spreading Ḥanukkah video by Yeshiva University’s Maccabeats: “Candlelight”:

(Thank you, Mom, for noting this one.)  The emphasis in this song is excellent.  This is not a song about dancing and food.  And it is not about the miracle of the oil; this miracle is really minor, for if it had not occurred, Ḥanukkah would still be worth celebrating.  The emphasis is on the victory and Torah study, right where the emphasis of the holiday belongs.

Peace and happy Ḥanukkah.

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Ḥanukkah is most definitely not Christmas


Jewish date:  26 Kislew 5771 (Parashath MiqQeṣ).

Today’s holidays:  Second day of Ḥanukkah (Judaism), Feast Day of Frances Xavier (Roman Catholicism), Feast Day of St. Godzilla (Church of the SubGenius), Feast of the Annihilation of the Prophet (Thelema).

Funny Pictures - Happy Hanukkat
Not even vaguely accurate, and that is why the cats are angry
It is Ḥanukkah, the Jewish holiday famous for celebrating the victory of the Maccabees/Hasmoneans over the Syrian-Greeks and Hellenists.  You can completely forget the influence Christmas has on Ḥanukkah in the US, because you will not find it here in Israel.  I went out the first night and walked along HashSharon and ’Aḥuzah Streets here in Ra‘ananah, deliberately looking for anything in the way of over-the-top decorations or Ḥanukkah-based advertising, and the nearest I found was posters for Megamind, which state “[For] Ḥanukkah in the cinema” at the top.

I did see some some menorahesque decorations along one street in Yerushalayim when I went to a wedding recently, but they were pretty sedate compared with anything in the US and very tasteful.  There have been zero mentions of “Ḥanukkah presents”, but plenty of mentions of jelly doughnuts and dreidls.  I have seen lit menoroth in windows and one like mine (a glass box thing) at a gate door.  

There are parties; the absorption center had one the first night, and I have seen others advertised, including one with a magician.  There are ads for Ḥanukkah activities posted, and here at the absorption center there are decorations, but it’s fair to say that ’tis not the season to go crazy over here.

Peace, happy Ḥanukkah, and Shabbath shalom.


PS:Enhanced by Zemanta  Yes, I know I should have photographed the Israeli Megamind poster.  I plan to get around to it.